Friday, March 25, 2011

Valve shows Blizzard how to give to charity

To follow up on my post on the vanity, ur, charity moonkin pets from last year, here's Valve, selling hats for Team Fortress 2, and doing it The Right Way. I'm not going to fault Valve for not paying their taxes out of their own pockets. Give to Caesar and all that.

Team Fortress 2 Blog:

Today, we'd like to offer a chance to help out at a time when that help matters most. To support the relief efforts currently underway in Japan, we're introducing three limited edition hats and two special noisemakers to the Mann Co. store. The 'Humanitarian's Hachimaki' ($7.99), the 'Benefactor's Kanmuri' ($19.99) and the most prestigious 'Magnanimous Monarch' ($99.99) will be available from now through April 6. All proceeds (net of applicable taxes) will go directly towards the Japanese disaster relief fund that the American Red Cross has set up.

What's more? They point you to the website directly to donate if you'd prefer to use it as a tax deduction and potentially give more by giving the same.

While your Mann Co. store purchases cannot be written off as tax deductions, those who would prefer to donate directly to the American Red Cross fund can do so at their website.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Next Justice Point goal

I'd kinda stopped going for the random normals, as I'd gotten my Cluster of Stars and have been just repping Therazane for the most part, getting ready to run Grim Batol next time I had a spare 90 minutes. My plan was to keep running GB until I had the three Chaos Orbs for the Chestguard of Nature's Fury. In the meanwhile, I've been using my Bloodied Wyrmhide Chest which, honestly, stinks. It's a PvP piece, and I don't PvP.

Justice Points really aren't hard to come by. If I didn't have a twink recruit-a-friending, I might have figured this out earlier, but the Robes of Forgetfulness are lots better than the Wyrmhide, and only run 2200 JPs. I just forgot to take a look.

That's a big enough difference to care. And then some. Time to crank daily normals back up.

(What does recruit-a-friend has to do with Justice Points? I just spent 2725 points on a Devout Aurastone Hammer for the friend (I'm twinking the off-account). Would have gone for the heirloom staff, but I think I'd like to try a Pally next. /sigh Would like to have the Robes already, but that Hammer plus a level 1 Intellect enchant has us geared well above the mobs we're tagging. Easy.)

Worst Cat Heroic? Lots say Grim Batol.

Breakfast Topic: Which Cataclysm heroic do you dread seeing on your loading screen? - WoW Insider:

A million times this. It's long, boring, unforgiving in a PuG and makes you do that tedious drake thing every single time.

Remember that feeling when you would get Oculus pop up as your random, or when it was the daily dungeon? That's how the Grim Batol loading screen makes me feel.

Maybe I should start learning another run, eh?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey, wow, I'm buying a moonkin pet FOR CHARITY!!!1!

I couldn't believe the venom directed my way when I was a (admittedly) a little snarky on WoW Insider about the moonkin vanity charity pet announcement last year. I sorta suggested to the folks saying how wonderful it was that buying the pet would give $5 to Make-A-Wish Foundation that they, um, could give twice as much if they, say, gave the charity all $10.

Blizzard wasn't being magnanimous. Add up the amount they make on the pets, subtract the amount they spent making the pets, and you still got a number that's a bit larger than zero. And if you divided the amount of cash they make each month by the amount of cash they gave to a charity with the last pet, well, it ain't a real high percentage. I, iirc, even admitted that they could be giving more elsewhere and that even the cash they pay their employees could very well be going to charities as well. Still, my guess is that Blizzard isn't tithing.

They used charity as a cover discourse for profit. Come on folks. If you want to donate, donate. And heck, if you want to waste money on vanity pets, waste your money and own it.

Nice to see that somebody else agrees.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dalaran Crater -- What are they doing?

Okay, it's funny, but what are they doing there now other than standing in as foils for this quest? You can jump right through the Dalaran force field now and, of course, Dalaran's gone. What's their angle? A few workers are banging on farm equipment, but there are no Alliance quests that I saw.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Kick boomkins on sight"

Ouch. General Umbriss - NPC - World of Warcraft:

PRO TIP: tanks do yourselves a a favor and kick boomkins from your group on sight if they end up in your random Heroic group none of them are of any use to your group at all and they are usually bad, especially consider this if you're in Heroic Grim Batol and invite a good mage from your guild, preferably frost.

Granted, the comment is rated so low as to be purged, but why the hate? Is it because of the Typhoon? I for the first time had a tank in normal complain about that making the mobs harder to tank, but I'm not sure I know why just yet. Won't they come right back to you? Is it the lost 2 seconds of rage while DPS keeps pounding? I started only using Typhoon when mobs had a wall to their backs. Works okay.

Is it the Starfall? I'll admit that I'm so gun-shy on this now that I only use it when there's nothing near us but the group we're tanking, and I mean nothing.

But if it's not Typhoon or Starfall, I don't get it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What's the INT to Spellpower conversion? Read on...

One thing that's been driving me crazy is the INT to spellpower conversion. I thought it was give or take 1 to 1. Close.

Druid: Balance PvE (updated for Cataclysm release) - Elitist Jerks:

Intellect provides 1 spellpower and 0.00154% to crit per point. With Mark of the Wild, Heart of the Wild, and Astral Leather Specialization, it provides 1.169 spellpower and 0.0018% crit (555 points per 1% crit, a bit under 1/3 of a crit rating).
Similarly, with these talents, one point of Intellect increases your maximum mana by 17.53, and your regen from Replenishment, Euphoria, and Innervate correspondingly.
These things together make Int the best stat for both DPS and mana.

Intellect, without the talent bonuses, crit bonus, or mana gains. Basically a weaker form of Intellect that only appears on weapons and trinkets, but is still good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Heroic -- It's a different world

Well, the good news is that I've gone through Grim Batol, my first heroic. I lost the Chaos Orb roll, which stinks, but do have a heroic Corrupted Egg Shell, which is at least a good mana replenisher.

Note to self: Use this macro
#showtooltip Corrupted Egg Shell
/cast [@player] Corrupted Egg Shell

The real take-home though is that the Heroic dungeon is a completely different animal socially. It's every bit as bad as you've read. Here's the sum of today's fun, just in case you haven't experienced it firsthand.

I came in part-way through the dungeon with the pre-Umbriss trash already down. Guess that's a bad sign. We have our tank drop soon after, pretty much embarrassed out by the rest of the party (minus me, who stayed silent) for not keeping aggro, which was a legit complaint. "They're casters! They'll attack anybody!" was his response, I believe. Gone. New tank rocks. Knows the instance. Keeps aggro. Tells everyone what to do. Good communicator. I have to race to Finkle's Skinner to beat another skinner to the corpse. Woohoo. One Savage Leather.

(What is the decorum on skinning? I tried to leave about half for him/her, but will admit I raced to skin Umbriss, if only to get some use out of Finkle's Skinner.)

Then, a while later, I have a guy say our dps is low. He's including himself, but mine is awful. At the same time, our healer is over-freakin whelmed with Shadowburner. I'm off-healing like maaaaad, popping tranq, lifeblooming & potting myself, and Healing Touch-ing the tank. We wipe twice. We eventually have to skip Shadowburner. I whisper this to the "low dps" commenter to help him understand why my numbers aren't where they should be, who, it turns out, just turned 85 himself and, though he wouldn't tell me his after asking about mine, has an iLevel of 334 (mine was 340). He defends healz, says that she (?) heals their guild in raids all the time. I say I'll trust him. I could certainly be taking too much damage from not knowing what's up in Heroic as well as I do reg. Seems about as far as I can go towards being nice, right?

We wipe one more time with trash. I'm not healing at all now. /sigh

We get to Erudax. Wipe at least twice. The new tank leaves. I ask if we're calling it. No.

New tank pops in. It's another good tank. I miss the Gale circle somehow, though I would have sworn I was in it, and was stacked right nearly on everyone else. Still, obviously my mistake. I party tell, "the hell? I thought I was in the circle." There's a wipe not 30 sec after (seriously? There are fewer people to heal now, and she can't keep up. Look, I don't expect them to win, but I expect her to keep the tank up long enough for a full party to do so. And no, Erudax wasn't nearly down). By the time I get the tell out, healz has already gone crazy in party chat about Gales being in reg too, referring back to my "Fair Warning Admission (c) 2011" that this is my first heroic run. I whisper, "dude, I've run reg 7 times and read the guides on this. I know the gale."

"^&*! you" is her reply.
"?" is mine, and it comes a millisecond after she's dropped. So does our mage, whose iLevel is apparently 330. Wow, that's low. I'm our best geared dps, and it's my first heroic. Healz' guildie doesn't drop.

Wow, healz even has an iLevel of 350 and has completed Baradin Hold. I don't get it. Resto Shaman, but couldn't keep up with a good tank... with two good tanks... on a sub-boss -- even with trash. I'll take some of the blame, certainly, but I don't think I get it all. Low dps commenter admits later that his weapon broke during the second Erudax wipe and that he, a rogue, was using his hands. "my weapons broke." Seriously? I've got two backup weapon sets, my best one-handed/off-hand combo and a DPS staff, just for fun in my bag, as that's something you can switch during a fight. Explains the horrible dps a bit, though.

Anyhow, we get new dps and healz, a real priest this time. I'm biased. I love priests. We wipe. Np. We wipe again. Np. We finally get dps lined up on the adds in a way that works, and we're golden. Freakin' golden. Erudax drops, I lose out on the Chaos Orb, I win the Egg Shell, all is good, except Mr. "She's Great, Don't Heal" gets the Chaos Orb. ;^)

Wow. Drama. Gear to 21% durability. Hours of life lost. Chaos Orb missed. The drops I want don't happen. We skip Shadowburner. But, ultimately, I've got to admit, a pretty good time.

Another positive (in addition to enjoying the final battle) is that I ended with 2nd in dps on Erudax, even though I was taking time out to drop shrooms to slow the adds. This guy kicked my arse in dps, but looking on the Armory, I guess that makes sense (though why nobody has the Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, I don't know).

Anyhow, you've been warned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Selling Gold, WoW Insider, and workers' rights

I'll probably take this up in length in a forthcoming post, but figured I'd include what I posted to WoW Insider here to remind me to go ballistic later.

From The Lawbringer: Fighting the gold fight -- the world as it is:

At one time in the history of MMOs, gold and item selling was a quaint notion. We had not yet been introduced to a world of horse armor and new mission DLC.

I had a hard time getting past this, in the intro. Did you ever install Ultima Online? They allowed to the point of *encouraging* your eBaying items. When was this quaint time of gold and item selling, exactly?

There's nothing quaint about Blizzard deciding that selling bits is illegal. That's a very calculated move designed to ensure players don't own the fruits of what is, at times, very tedious labor.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grim Batol: 5th run and Heroic Prep

Finally Cataclysmically Epic. Broke down and grabbed a Tattooed Eyeball for just under 1300g. That means I spent 1300+750 (bracers)+2700 (Blazewing) = 3750g for my gear. A little lazy, but I'm done.

I'm also getting lots of achievements in a row like this -- I got credit for Epic Waist at the same time I got Cataclysmically Epic Waist, for instance, and I made my own Lava Belt years ago, right after BC's release. It's surprising how much Blizzard apparently didn't track in vanilla and later.

I've now run Grim Batol (normal) five times. I guess it's got the best loot, because it seems to be the most popular PUG/random LFG instance by a long shot. My last run saw two folks drop, one after each of the two sub-bosses when I suppose they got or didn't get the items they wanted. Folks didn't seem to be real familiar with the instance. I ended up dropping into healz for the last two bosses once our Shammy dropped and a gnome priest filled in; we wiped during trash when someone sheeped someone in the next group, and I had to run Tranquility maybe three times total. Nobody even knew to kite Shadowburner's adds, nor did they have much interest after I spend a few seconds dropping into chat to tell them what's up. /sigh

(As an aside, I've been thinking about dedicating a button on the mouse to the WoW in-game voice chat for times like this. I've yet to hear someone on voicechat in a PUG, which seems strange, since even our guild uses Skype when we make guild runs.)

Anyhow, I've done GB enough now to try out heroic. I'm carrying around two pieces of GB (normal) loot already: the Staff of Siphoned Essences and Azureborne Cloak. It'd be nice to get upgrades -- and start collecting some Chaos Orbs.

This looks like an interesting Grim Batol Heroic guide. It feels a little, um, unedited, but has most of the info I've Googled up elsewhere with maps for each boss. I'm a little embarrassed I didn't realize I needed to get behind the Forgemaster when he went with shield, for instance. Shifting Perspective's guide is here, and lets you supplement with a little balance-specific info.

My last experience with GB also has me nearly ready to break down and just slog through heroics I don't know too, admittedly. We'll see if I force myself onto unsuspecting PUGgers. Poor saps. Hopefully I'll stay strong.

Ah, yes, one final point. My trash DPS picked up like mad. I wasn't going around Moonfire and Insect Swarming everyone first. Now I typically rush in with Typhoon, if nobody is CCing, then MF and IS everyone before either tossing off a Starsurge (if its instant-cast procs) to lead into Hurricaning (if the trash is mostly still up) or running to the normal Eclipse rotation. Much better. I'm still not grabbing the top spot on bosses, but I do think I'm trying to do too much, especially this run (lots of needed off-healing).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

RepDing! Exalted Wildhammer

One down, at least one more to go. Honestly, I'm going to have to find a new guild soon. What's left to do other than run back through questlines? Well, obviously, learn dungeons. I see how hardcore folk are getting bored.

I've installed Recount. I'm not doing well. I was third in a normal Cat dungeon run tonight, though I was off-healing like mad. I wonder what's up with my rotation that sux0rz. Guess I could double check the gear of the other party members to see if I'm still too noob (, but I'm still embarrassed. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to, I believe. Must be under-enchanted.

Boogerford with a 337 item level (though it says "339 equipped"), but +526 AGI for an assassination rogue. Boogerford also has 109,329 honorable kills. How is that even possible? 8825 achievement score (I've got 2110).
Seakdeth -- worse ilevel (334 vs. 339, though he's got "341 equipped"), but much much better enchant -- +529 AGI vs. +169 INT for me. 4090 achievement score.

They've both done significant raiding in Wrath as well. (The Armory updates, btw, are pretty cool.)

Even then I was 2nd for the first third of the instance. Guess that's okay, though I got blown out of the water once Boogerford picked up.

Here's my played, which I'm going to suggest every blogger should post weekly, for their readers to form expectations and for bloggers to gauge their addiction.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heroic Gearing: Poor Man's Enchants (and some glyphing)

Gear Update
Well, it's happened. A week or so ago, Jal finally got good enough gear to run heroics. I'm impressed with the new Armory's "advanced" view, shown above, which shows not only a quick snapshot with names of your current gear, but also yells at you for where you haven't enchanted. It's enough to drive even me to review my almost complete lack of enchants.

Most of the gear I've got comes from the Shifting Perspectives list I've been working from. I did finally shell out about 750g for the Bracers of Caustic Purification, and, after watching the AH for weeks, another 2500g for Blazewing's Furious Kilt. Those aren't horrible prices for good pre-raid gear, but I feel a little badly about the shortcut. But unlike the other slots, good pants and bracers didn't seem to be popping up without more work, so the squeaky wheels got the gold.

I've admittedly used a lot of Bloodied Wyrmhide to fill in spots I haven't earned yet. The resilience is worthless. The Wyrmhide has been slight upgrades over what I had anyhow, but I know on some level I'm using it not only to increase my leatherworking but also for the extra ilevel. I only have the chest and belt left. The belt will be replaced as soon as I'm done with Wildhammer rep, and the chestpiece will have to wait until I've got three Chaos Orbs and can fashion its replacement. I'm still running normals, and will try to run each normal at least once before going heroic, but running Grim Batol over and over with the "random" LFG is getting really really old. I'm up to four out of maybe six or seven runs now.

Poor Man's Enchanting
The enchanting lesson: Don't let your lack of time stop you from poor man's enchanting. I was going to run Therazane rep for the Cat shoulder enchant after I went exalted with Wildhammer (81% there now), and figured I'd do all my enchanting then. Dumb. I pity the fool who doesn't use Wrath enchants! I've had my Spaulders of the Endless Plains for weeks, and only now did it occur to me to run back by the Sons of Hodir for their enchants. The Greater Inscription of the Storm is 24 sp and 15 crit that I didn't have before. I bought two, just in case. Then I remembered that I was one arctic fur away from the spellpower fur lining for bracers. There's another 76 sp I was walking around without. I've also filled in too many slots with Savage Armor kits. I don't really need the extra STA, but with all the leather in Tol Barad, it's essentially free.

I did get a guildie to throw Avalanche on the Staff of Siphoned Essences. Stinks that the staff has its own glow and doesn't show the explosion of snow, but it looks like that should increase DPS by 3-4%. My next step is to install Recount again to see if I'm not doing better. Honestly, I've usually been just barely third on Recounts during PUG runs. I'm used to blowing folks out of the water in LK. I'm using Starfall and Typhoon a good deal. Though I do tend to off-heal when things get nasty, throw innervates when healz needs it, and "waste" my time on things that cause damage but don't hit my scale, I'm still lower than I'd like. I hope the enchants help enough to get me to second routinely (I've probably been an Avalanche behind), as well as the new gear (Blazewing, eg, is brand new).

I'll have to post on Glyphing later, but the quick lesson is that there are more purely positive glyphs than I remember from earlier. Before, it was a devil's deal. Get more damage, but lose range. Or typhoon gets more damage but doesn't push enemies back. Well, I often bank on those extra seconds to loot something (usually a keg of ale) or to throw half a starsurge. Now, there are (more?) unadulterated gains. The Wrath glyph is a must. +10% damage to Wrath. The end. Why I hadn't bothered before, I don't know. I'm hoping it changed from when I first played around with glyphs. Getting 50% of Innervate when you cast it on someone else is spiffy. And 50% faster swimming? Why not?

And here ends another unedited post brought to you by the panzerkin.

EDIT: Shifting Perspectives on enchants and glyphs. Sorry if this edit causes the post to pop back up in anyone's RSS feed.